Special Reports

AMAMA SAGA: Gen Kayihura Defends Police Investigation

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doctor http://csanz.edu.au/wp-content/plugins/widgetkit/widgets/slideshow/styles/showcase_buttons/template.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>“Indeed, approved http://coastalallergycare.com/wp-includes/post-template.php Police is conducting investigation into reports that certain individuals associated with the NRM party are going around the country securing or attempting to secure signatures, using methods that amount to criminality such as using bribery or on the basis of falsehoods,” said Kayihura in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday.


“The reports we are investigating are that those from whom they seek signatures are bribed with money, or misled as to the actual reasons the signatures are being sought,” he clarified.


“For instance, the Police received reports of a group of people moving around collecting signatures from people in Kampala, falsely claiming that the intention was to take them to the President so that the longstanding promises the President are, at last, fulfilled. Others were paid money (actually bribed) ranging from shs 50,000 to 500,000 depending on their respective status in the NRM party,” added Kayihura.


Kayihura, however, dismissed reports the suspects are being targeted due to their political inclinations.


“The press continues to carry misleading stories that an ongoing investigation by the Police of certain persons associated with NRM party, who have been moving around the country collecting signatures is, in fact, harassment of supporters of Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister, and that the harassment is because of their political opinions, and inclinations.


We wish to clarify that this is not correct. The Police is not targeting or harassing any such individuals, or anybody for that matter, let alone, because of their political opinions as claimed in media stories,” assured the Police boss.

“We do not inquire, and we do not have the mandate, and, have no interest in which political leader any member of the public supports or does not support. A person supporting this or that leader is really not our concern, as Police, because that is one’s prerogative. In any case, such matters are dealt with by the internal processes of political organizations, in this case the NRM party.”

Kayihura’s remarks come on the heels of Premier Mbabazi’s media remarks that his supporters have a right to support him for President and that they must be released unconditionally.

Police recently interrogated several supporters of Mbabazi who were mobilising signatures in different parts of the country to front him for President.

The move infuriated authorities, with Kampala police boss, Andrew Kaweesi, saying any individual found mobilising the signatures would face the full wrath of the law.

The development also comes at a time when Mbabazi and Museveni are struggling for power ahead of the 2016 elections.

It should also be noted that Mbabazi’s wife Jacqueline last weekend issued a media statement in which she attacked Police for being partisan.

“Mr Kawonawo explained that the youth had passed a resolution that stated that they thought Hon Mbabazi should lead the country come 2016. I warned him that Afande Teargas (General Kale Kayihura) would attack them with teargas if they organised the next conference in Kampala,” said Jacqueline as she elaborated the genesis of the rift with President Museveni.

“True to form, the police through Felix Kaweesi have made a partisan statement this week so my concern about a teargas attack on the youth therefore could not be far from the truth.”

Bribery

Nevertheless, Kayihura said “There are other reports of money being unlawfully paid (bribery) out by different teams going around the country. While any person, is free to solicit and receive signatures for lawful purpose, those signing must do so freely without undue or unlawful compulsion or any unlawful influence through false representations, and, certainly, without money exchanging hands, unlawfully such as bribery. It should be voluntary on the part of the signatories. There are reports that some local leaders involved, actually abused their respective offices, which is criminal.”

Kayihura further noted that on receiving the reports, the Police, using standard methods, summoned and interviewed persons implicated and that in most cases, the Police have received cooperation.

“It is, only, in very limited cases that arrests of such persons were made. Some of the persons have appeared as suspects, and others have appeared as witnesses. They are others still at large who the Police are interested in, and will have to interview. In all cases, the police officers investigating the case have acted with professionalism, respecting the rights of suspects, and treating them with utmost respect,” he added.

“We wish to stress, and assure the leadership of the NRM party, and specifically, the Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, as well as the persons ‘implicated,’ and the general public that nobody is being targeted for their opinions or because of who they support or not support. Indeed, expressing an opinion is not, by itself, a criminal offence and it is not correct to interpret the Police actions as harassment of someone freely expressing his or her views on this or that political issue.”

He further defended the police investigation: “As we noted above, our focus is investigation of reported criminal behaviour. If they are innocent, they have nothing to fear. They will be cleared. If they are culpable, however, they should be prepared to face the judicial process.”

Kayihura concluded: “We want to assure the public that, in spite of the negative and diversionary stories in the media, we shall not be deterred. The Police will not be intimidated, or blackmailed and shy away from bringing to justice any member of public alleged to have committed an offense, their political “opinions” or inclinations notwithstanding.”

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